If you’re like most people, you know that getting caught with drugs in your possession is a serious issue. Depending on what’s found (and how much) you could be charged with possession, the intent to traffic — or worse.
But what if you don’t actually have any drugs on you when you’re stopped by the police? Well, under certain circumstances, you can still be charged with a drug crime. Here’s what you need to know:
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a crime
Florida has some of the strictest marijuana laws in the nation, including rules about drug paraphernalia. The term “paraphernalia” refers to items made for using, producing or distributing the drug. It includes equipment that exists only for those purposes and things that have other legal uses.
For example, a discarded syringe could be a sign you have been injecting illegal drugs. Or it could mean you dropped it after injecting insulin for diabetes. A collection of small zip lock bags could signify you deal drugs. Or it could mean you are packing trail mix for a long hike. A bong, however, is likely only meant to be used for drugs, just like a crack pipe.
Intent to use is crucial to drug paraphernalia charges
The police do not even need to have evidence that you have used the items in your possession for drug-related activities. The law makes it an offense if you merely intend to use something for drug-related purposes.
The penalties for drug crimes in Florida are harsh. It is crucial to investigate all avenues of defense. What a prosecutor considers vital evidence of a drug crime may be little more than an everyday object you have valid reasons to own. What they think was an intention on your part might be no more than a figment of their vivid imagination.